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MATH 579 Calculus of Variations Select Term:
The calculus of variations concerns problems in which one wishes to find the minima or extrema of some quantity over a system that has functional degrees of freedom. Many important problems arise in this way across pure and applied mathematics and physics. They range from the problem in geometry of finding the shape of a soap bubble, a surface that minimizes its surface area, to finding the configuration of a piece of elastic that minimises its energy. Perhaps most importantly, the principle of least action is now the standard way to formulate the laws of mechanics and basic physics. In this course it is shown that such variational problems give rise to a system of differential equations, the Euler-Lagrange equations Furthermore, the minimizing principle that underlies these equations leads to direct methods for analysing the solutions to these equations. These methods have far reaching applications and will help develop students’ mathematical technique.
SU Credits : 3
ECTS Credit : 10
Prerequisite : -
Corequisite : -